Psychology Research Job Databases
If you are unsure of the specific research job you want, use psychology research job databases. These sites are an easy way to find a variety of research assistant positions and are updated regularly.
Professional Psychology Organization Websites
Professional psychology organizations often list research assistant positions on their websites. Target specific organizations based on your area of interest.
Organization Job Boards
- Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)
- Society for Affective Science (SAS)
- Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP)
- Association for Psychological Science (APS)
- The International Honors Society in Psychology (Psi Chi)
- Cognitive Development Society (CDS)
- Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers: Has mostly internships- some paid and some unpaid so make sure to read the information on the website of the internship
- Psychonomic Society
Job Databases Based out of Specific Universities
Several universities have created job boards that are updated regularly with research assistant positions.
University Affiliated Job Boards
- Post-Graduate Psychology Research Jobs (Harvard University)
- Psychology Job & Internship Opportunities (Miami University)
- Psychology Job & Research Opportunities (Georgetown University)
- Internship & Job Opportunities (Duke University)
- Research and Other Opportunities – Mind Brain Behavior (Harvard University)
- Psychology Research Opportunities (Quinnipiac College of Arts and Sciences)
Popular Job Search Engines
Use popular job search engines that frequently list Bachelor-level RA positions in research labs and university HR departments. Try a combination of these search words: “Psychology”, “Neuroscience” (or other field of interest), “Research Assistant”, “Lab Manager/Coordinator/Technician”
General Job Boards
If you have a particular university or city in mind, you can visit individual university HR websites to find research assistant positions that are not listed on other job posting sites. This approach is especially helpful if you want to work with specific professors or target graduate schools for the future.
Professors often advertise their open lab positions (and retweet others!) from their personal and/or lab accounts. Some accounts like @Psychjobs and @PsychChatter regularly post about positions. Also check out hashtags like #psychjobs, #psychologyjobs, and so on. Check out the extensive list of Twitter accounts that are psychology-related.
Reaching out to Professors or Labs (Cold Emails)
If you have specific professors or labs that you would like to work in, reach out to them expressing your interest in their work and your desire to join their lab. Write a professional email introducing yourself, connecting your research interests to their work, and expressing your desire to join their lab. Keep the email concise, around 3-7 sentences. Also, don’t forget to attach your resume or CV to showcase your background and experience. Be patient and follow up if needed after a couple of weeks.
Here’s an example email:
Dear [Insert professor name],
I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Insert your name], a senior psychology student at Carleton College. I am extremely interested in examining [Insert your research interest, connecting it to the professor’s work]. Your work on [describe their work] has greatly inspired me, and I am reaching out to inquire about potential research assistant positions in your team. I have attached my CV for your consideration. I am more than happy to answer any questions about my training, professional goals, and research experiences.
Thank you in advance for your time. I am looking forward to hearing back from you.
[Insert your name]
After sending an email, prepare to discuss your interest in the position further. Make sure you can answer these questions:
- Why do you want to join the specific lab?
- What are your research interests and how do they align with the lab’s work?
- How can you contribute to the lab’s research projects?
- What are your educational goals and how will working in the lab will help you achieve them?
Try to link your personal experiences or global issues to your research interests whenever relevant. Connecting past experiences with the specific focus of the lab and demonstrating how you can contribute is crucial and it’s more effective than simply listing out your accomplishments and intelligence.
If professors have not responded in 1-2 weeks, consider contacting their graduate students or lab managers. Graduate students often require assistance with their research and may be more accessible for undergraduates seeking opportunities. Approach them professionally and respectfully.
Helpful tip: Keep a spreadsheet to keep track of the emails you have sent so you know who you have already contacted and how long you have been waiting for a response.
- NIH Postbaccalaureate and Graduate Students Programs
- Paglia Post-Bac Research Fellowship: This fellowship aims to provide graduating seniors, interested in scientific research careers, the opportunity to work in a U.S. Research One (R1) institution’s lab/research group for one year (for international students) or two years (for US citizens/residents).
- Application Deadline: 5 PM on Friday, Feb 24, 2023
- Fulbright U.S. Student Program: The Fulbright U.S. Student Program promotes academic and professional growth and cross-cultural understanding by offering opportunities for graduating college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals to engage in various activities such as graduate study, research, or teaching abroad in partnership with over 140 countries. Fulbrighters immerse themselves in the host country’s culture, sharing daily experiences and interacting with people on an individual basis in classrooms, fields, homes, and routine tasks. This direct engagement fosters mutual understanding, appreciation for different viewpoints, and intellectual freedom, ultimately creating connections in our complex world.
- Application Deadlines: Pre-application form due June 5, 2023. During June to August, applicants will work on essays and forms, with two important deadlines: a ‘zero draft’ deadline on July 10, 2023, and a second draft deadline for Academic applicants on July 31, 2023, and for English Teaching Assistantship applicants on August 14, 2023. Recommendations are due by September 8, 2023. The fully drafted application must be submitted by this date, and no extensions are given. After submission, applications are evaluated, and successful applicants are notified between March and early May 2024.
What is a post-bacc program?
A post-baccalaureate program, often referred to as a “post-bacc program,” is a structured educational experience designed for individuals who have already completed their bachelor’s degree but are seeking additional education and training in a specific field. These programs are commonly used by students who want to strengthen their academic background, pursue a new career path, or enhance their qualifications for further education, such as graduate or professional school.
Post-bac programs can vary widely in their goals and offerings. Some are designed to provide prerequisite coursework for individuals looking to enter a new field, while others focus on research experience, skill development, or test preparation. They can be found in various disciplines, including the sciences, health professions, humanities, and more.
Need Help with CV, Cover Letter, and Interviews?
Carleton’s Career Center is a great resource for getting help with your application materials, including Resumes/CVs and cover letters. They can also provide guidance and mock interviews to prepare you for the actual interviews.
Other Helpful Tips
- Gain Preliminary Experience: Obtain research experience before graduation to bolster your applications, even if it’s not directly aligned with the PI’s work.
- Start Early: Begin your search well in advance, as many labs hire new RAs for the upcoming fall semester. Job postings often start in the spring or earlier, giving you the best chance to secure a position.
- Stay Persistent: Research assistant positions are competitive, so apply widely and consistently. Your determination will be a key factor in securing a role.
- Stay Flexible: Be open to part-time or volunteer positions initially. Your dedication and experience could lead to full-time opportunities later, and any research experience adds value.
- Seek Guidance: Inform your advisor and professors about your plans. They might offer valuable advice or connections to aid your search.
Remember, finding the right research position may take time and persistence, but with these steps and resources, you’ll be well on your way to gaining valuable research experience in psychology. Good luck!